Testimonials Boost Direct Mail Response Rates In Business-to-Business Sales Letters

Alan Sharpe

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Correct me if I am wrong, but there is nothing more powerful in a business-to-business sales letter than a credible testimonial from a person in your prospect’s peer group.

Testimonials are valuable because they say what you cannot. If you say it, you’re boasting. If a satisfied client says it, they are applauding. Here are some tips on using testimonials to make your sales letter pitches more plausible-and profitable.

1. Don’t write your own
I have a standing policy never to write testimonials for others to sign. I don’t put words in a client’s mouth. That’s because real testimonials have an authentic sound to them that you cannot reproduce with your own pen. The only change I make to testimonials is to correct typos and grammatical mistakes that would otherwise embarrass the person making the testimonial.

2. Attribute the testimonials fully
There may actually be a J. K.in Wyoming but I do not know him, and neither do your prospects. Your testimonials carry the most credibility when they are attributed to a person by name, and include that person’s job title and company. Prospects check up on us direct mail marketers, you know. I recently landed a contract with a client who, before retaining my services, visited my online testimonials page, clicked on one of the company links, and asked to speak to the person who had given the testimonial.

3. Match your testimonials with your target audience
Ideally, you should have an arsenal of testimonials at your disposal for every kind of tactic and target audience. The best sales letters use testimonials that match the industry, business challenge and job title of the prospect. Collect testimonials about your product quality, customer service, response times, professionalism, value for money and so on. Then pick the testimonial that matches your selling proposition, offer and audience.

For example, the best testimonial to use when targeting dentists who buy continuing education courses online is one from a dentist from your prospect’s city (or state or province) who was extremely satisfied when buying online continuing education courses from you.

4. Ask permission
This goes without saying, which, in English, means I am going to say it. Always get written permission from your clients and suppliers to use their testimonials in sales letters, collateral and online.

5. Turn compliments into testimonials
You don’t have to solicit testimonials if your customers regularly say or write nice things about you, which I imagine is the case. Simply ask their permission to quote what they have already said.

About the author

Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter and lead generation specialist who helps business owners and marketing managers generate leads, close sales and retain customers using business-to-business direct mail marketing . Learn more about his creative direct mail writing services and sign up for free weekly tips like this at http://www.sharpecopy.com .

© 2005 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the “About the author" message).


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